Longines was founded in 1832 by Auguste Agassiz in Saint-Imier, Switzerland where it remains today. The company is among the oldest of watch brands and its winged logo, registered in 1889, is the oldest (unchanged) registered trademark. The brand is known for accessibly-priced luxury watches and owners have included legends like Humphrey Bogart, Amelia Earhart, Albert Einstein, Howard Hughes and Charles Lindbergh. Early on, Longines became a major player in sports timing with many innovations. Its first chronograph debuted in 1878 and quickly became a favourite in the horse racing scene. In 1912, Longines developed the first sports timer triggered by an electric wire. Charles Lindbergh's first nonstop solo flight across the Atlantic was also timed by Longines. The brand is now an official timer for equestrian sports, gymnastics, alpine skiing and more. The company became a subsidiary of SMH in 1983, which is now the Swatch Group, and the current CEO is Matthias Breschan (previously with Rado). Breschan recently succeeded Walter von Känel, who had successfully led Longines for 51 years.
Longines currently has five major collections with the Master, Sport and Heritage lines among the most popular. Following the first wave of now-legendary dive watches from Blancpain, Rolex and the like, Longines began producing divers in the late 1950s, most notably the Nautilus Skin diver. That watch lives on in a modern incarnation in the brand’s Heritage collection, which consists of faithful reissues of pioneering models from the early and mid-20th century. The Legend Diver series is among the most popular of these (originating in the 1960s) with classic aesthetics and Super Compressor cases, while chronographs, dress and military-inspired pieces round out the Heritage collection.
The Master Collection includes sophisticated complications at surprisingly accessible prices. One of the most affordable automatic annual calendars is here with multiple dial options, while the Master Collection Moon Phase is loaded with complications. You get a moon phase, chronograph, full calendar (month, day and date) and 24-hour sub-dial in either a 40mm or 43mm case. A portfolio of both men’s and women’s watches comprise the Master Collection. Shifting to the Sport collection, the HydroConquest brings modern dive watches in either time only or chronograph variants, while the Conquest offers rugged sports watches. The Classic collection carries dress watches for men, while the Elegance collection offers counterparts to women.
Although Longines was a pioneer in the development of calibres since the late 19th century, its modern collection currently relies on modified Swiss ETA mechanical and quartz movements to remain accessible to a wide audience. The brand boasts one of the most respected names in the history of watchmaking and continues to be a leader in the affordable luxury segment.